Recognizing Plant Cell authors: Vivek K. Raxwal

Vivek K. Raxwal, first author of Nonsense mediated RNA decay factor UPF1 is critical for post-transcriptional and translational gene regulation in Arabidopsis

Current Position: Postdoctoral researcher, Central European Institute of Technology, Brno, Czech Republic

Education: PhD, Department of Botany, University of Delhi, Delhi, India

Non-scientific Interests: Cricket, travelling

Brief Bio: I started the journey of scientific learning more than 15 years ago in Delhi University where I completed Bachelor, Master, and a Ph.D. degree in Botany. I was fascinated by the complexity of mechanisms that govern regulation of gene expression. Therefore, I joined the lab of Prof. Manu Agarwal for my Ph.D. studies, that were focused on understanding how abiotic stresses, such as heat or draught, affect genome-wide chromatin landscape in rice and Arabidopsis, and how are these stress-induced alterations transduced into transcriptional changes. This work along with other collaborative projects helped me obtain expertise in plant experimental biology as well as in bioinformatics. After completing my Ph.D., I moved to the city of Mendel (Brno, Czech Republic) to pursue postdoctoral research with Dr. Karel Riha. Here, I study non-sense mediated RNA decay (NMD), a mechanism that promotes degradation of aberrant transcripts. While NMD is primarily perceived as an RNA quality control mechanism, it appears to play a more complex role in regulation of gene expression and, I believe, also in gene evolution. In my work I try to uncover these broader functions of NMD factors and their contribution to fine tuning gene expression and shaping plant genomes.